In a match without a horde of World Cup call-ups, one team could have used their help, as the Seattle Sounders beat Real Salt Lake 4-0 in a display of absolute dominance. Goals for the Sounders came from Gonzalo Pineda in the 42nd minute (penalty kick), Marco Pappa in the 55th minute, Chad Barret in the 62nd minute, and Obafemi Martins in the 90th minute.
The first ten minutes of the match was a feeling out process, which is to be expected by the two top clubs in the league. This would be the most formidable RSL would look, as Seattle took control of the play for the rest of the match. While there was lots of play in the middle of the pitch, it was the Sounders who were on the attack most often, sending chip passes and through balls past a defense that seemed to, at times, almost stand still. The hard work of the home side paid off near the end of the half, when Lamar Neagle (who didn’t give up on a play all day) dogged his way into the penalty area and was taken down by centerback Aaron Maund, forcing the referee to award a penalty kick. Pineda made no mistakes, putting the ball home with pinpoint accuracy to put the men in green up 1-o.
Nothing changed in the second half, with Seattle dictating the play throughout. RSL may have gotten two or three decent chances on net, but were not able to capitalize. Meanwhile, the Sounders were roaring on all cylinders, making the most of their chances. Maund made his second big mistake of the match when he fouled Brad Evans just outside the box in the 54th minute, and Pappa capitalized with a beautiful free kick. And while Neagle showed hustle and hard work from kick off, his effort was equaled by Barret and Martins, both being rewarded with tallies on the scoresheet. After dismantling one of the top MLS Cup contenders this season, there was little doubt in this one that Seattle is still the top dog in the yard.
Neagle would be my UGH Award winner for the week, but unfortunately for him (I guess?), he nabbed an assist, so the UGH has to go elsewhere. My pick is going to Brad Evans, who is starting to show some great play after being snubbed from the USMNT. He was relentless in his passing and crossing, while also drawing the foul that led to Pappa’s free kick goal. We’ll have to wait and see if leaving him off the plane to Brazil was a mistake, but Sigi Schmid certainly doesn’t seem to mind.